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NEW ORLEANS— For some, the holidays means getting on the road to see loved ones.

You might be planning a trip and if you are, know when to slow down and move over!

Dr. Jonathan Schoen, Trauma Surgeon at University Medical Center says, “I’ve had many people over the years tell me that they don’t know how they will ever enjoy the holidays again, having lost someone that they loved.”

That sobering testimony today was but a part of an awareness event to call attention to the state’s Slow Down and Move Over Law, designed to enhance road safety.

Louisiana State Police Trooper Kate Stegall states that “In 2021 in Troop B, we have investigated 31  fatal crashes resulting in 37 deaths.”

Troop B includes our area and that number is higher than last year.

According to Don Redman of AAA, “People are allowing themselves to not only drive impaired but also being distracted.”

Not all of the crashes are fatal, but of the thousands investigated in the state, many involve serious injury, like the November crash on I-610 where Motor Assistance Patrol Operator Michael Rodriguez was hurt.

Rodriguez stated, “I remember it was kind of like a daze. I remember I got knocked out. I just came back to and was like whoa, whoa what just happened?”

Rodriguez’s accident demonstrates what the slow down, move over law is supposed to do, protect those helping others on the roadway.

Chris Morvant of La DOTD, “Our guys are sometimes unprotected. They’re risking they’re lives out there trying to save other people.”

The law also dictates that you slow down for motorists with hazard lights on on the side of the road.  Not following the slow down and move over law almost proved fatal for Rodriquez.

“My two little boys, if it were different.  Thank God it was not different but if it were different, they could have lost their daddy that day,” said Rodriguez.